Sunday, April 21, 2013

Childhood Story #7

“My Mom wouldn’t let anyone cut my hair so I had those long Fauntleroy curls.  Back then little boys wore dresses so when they sent me to kindergarten everyone thought I was a girl.  They wouldn’t let me use the boys’ room so I snuck out back and peed on the coal pile.”

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Childhood Story #6

“One day when [I forget which brother but both of them were older]and I were walking home from school, some tough kids from the neighborhood jumped him and beat him up.”

“What did you do?”
“What do you think I did?  I stood there and cried!”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Honeymoon Story #3 [per Sheryl’s request]

My Dad liked picking on my Mom.  Usually it was alright with her—sometimes, tho, he would go too far.  My Mom has always been quick to cry, so you think my Dad would have been a little more careful but I’m sorry to say that wasn’t always the case. Be that as it may, he could always make her laugh and the infamous story of their Honeymoon became one of the jokes that would make her swat him on the arm, half blushing, half giggling.  For all the stories I tell of my Dad, let it be known that my Mom’s comedic timing is just as epic, even when she was relegated to the role of straight man/butt of joke.  The story is as follows:

“Our room had a Murphy Bed—one of those beds that folds up into the wall.  Well, the clerk takes us up to our room, opens the door and the first thing my wife of 12 hours says is, ‘Where’s the bed?!?’ [sideways glance at my Mom] And that’s when I knew: I’d married a Sex Fiend.” [Mom blushes, begins to beat Dad with couch cushion.]

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Honeymoon Story #2

“Our room was like a bridge between two parts of the Inn.  We found out the hard way it was directly over a train track.”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Honeymoon Story #1

My Mom and Dad were married in 1957.  The honeymoon they chose to take was a drive into New England.  They had a wonderful time once they got there but their first night was epic bordering on surreal.  Again, remember the context: this is my bedtime story and I am probably 7 or 8:

“After the reception we got in my car and started driving.  It was a dark night, rainy and cold, and we had booked a room at a little roadside inn.  By the time we got there it was after midnight.  We hadn’t really eaten at the reception but the restaurant was closed.  There was a bar downstairs and the desk clerk was the bartender.  Turns out he was the cook, too, and he made us hamburgers.  He only had one arm.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Religion: The Brush Off

My father belonged to a small percentage of the population that can claim to have out-maneuvered a Jehovah’s Witness.  As I mentioned, my Dad had a couple years of seminary training under his belt and he loved, loved, loved talking scripture.  A very nice lady named Wilma (whom my Dad considered a, “good lookin’ gal”) had been visiting my father regularly, dropping off Watchtowers and stating her case.  This is how my Dad described her last visit:  “I finally told her, ‘Wilma, I’m not going to change your mind and you’re not going to change mine.  But drop by whenever you’d like, you’re always welcome.’” 

And that was the end of Wilma.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Religion: Sarcasm

Back in the 1970s there was a Born Again revival that fanned out thru our area.  I used to think it was national but in hindsight I’m not sure.  The Ohio of my youth had several televangelists of note—Ernest Angley, anyone?—and I’m thinking it could be traced to one of them.  One of the ways the revival manifested itself was in a rash of bright yellow bumperstickers which proclaimed, in bold black letters, “I Found It!”  Needless to say the problematic neighbors across the street had “I Found It!” bumperstickers on both of their cars.

Sans fanfare, my Dad had a bumpersticker made for his car, a bright yellow bumper sticker that said, in the exact same bold black font, “But Do You Live It?”


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Religion: Revenge

My folks had an on again off again feud with our neighbors, both the ones next door and the ones across the street—these two households were related, parents on the side of us and daughter and son in law in the house directly across from ours.  When things were calm, I got along well with our neighbor lady on the side of us and the daughter of the family across the street (the sons, tho: freakin’ bullies.  And when they grew up they stayed that way).  The feud was really awful and made my parents’ lives very difficult for a number of years.   One of the things that got under my Dad’s skin was that both sets of neighbors were very vociferous about their Christianity, especially when they were being particularly nasty.  Not many people knew that my Dad had attended a Lutheran seminary in hopes of being a minister.  While he had to leave before completing his studies, he knew the Bible and he knew Christianity.  So he knew religious hypocrisy when he saw it.

My Dad’s folks are buried in a memorial park style cemetery, the type of cemetery where the markers are all flush with the ground.  From your car (and you need a car to get there) you may as well be on a slightly shabby golfcourse.  When you get out and look at the ground, however, you see who’s buried where.  One day, while visiting his folks’ graves, he noticed a new marker had been put in nearby.  He went over to see who his future neighbors would be and—Behold!—the couple from next door!  Who were still very much alive.  I’ve worked in cemeteries—the way you say it is that they had their marker placed “pre-need.”

My Dad absolutely loved that.  He measured out the number of steps from his future grave to theirs (seventeen!).  And he never, ever pointed out to them that they would be Forever And Ever Neighbors.  One of my favorite Dad moments happened when I was sitting with him on our front porch swing and he was in full-on gloat-mode.  He explained the situation to me again, taking it to the necessary conclusion: “And the best part about it, you know what the best part is?  They say when the Good Lord comes on that Final Day, He’ll come from the East—they’re gonna be staring at my ass!”
Have I mentioned yet how much I love that man?